#BritishColumbia; #temporaryLayOff; #Covid19Pandemic, #VarianceAppliction
British Columbia, Aug 5 (Canadian-Media): A simplified variance application process was launched in July 2020 by B.C.'s Ministry of Labour to help businesses navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily, media reports said.
Harry Bains. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Workers and employers needing to extend temporary layoffs beyond the Aug. 30, 2020, expiry date should apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by Aug. 25.
“I urge any employers who think they need to extend temporary staff layoffs further, to please read the information we have online and reach out if you have any questions,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “We have made the application process simple and easy to use and there are ministry staff available to help guide an employer through the process or answer any questions.”
The new two-step online application simplifies and streamlines the process for employers and workers to jointly apply for an extension by allowing documents and signatures to be submitted electronically.
in the first step employers reach out to their employees to ensure they have more than 50 percent support from them before applying. Workers Would then be informed about the variance, including their rights under the Employment Standards Act, and will be able to voice their support using the online tool. After documentation of the worker support is completed, employers can complete the online form and submit directly to the Employment Standards Branch.
Under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until Aug. 30, 2020, before the layoff becomes permanent. Government Employers are encouraged to submit their variance applications now to avoid permanent staff layoffs and compensation for length of service to eligible workers upon the expiry of the COVID-19 emergency layoff period Aug. 30.
Employers are also encouraged to take advantage of the federal wage subsidy to assist them in bringing workers back.
#CanadaGovt; #Funding; #SafeRestartOfEconomy; #Covid19; #LongTermCares
Ottawa, Jul 16 (Canadian-Media): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today at a press conference on Parliament Hill that the federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a "safe restart" of the Canadian economy.
Justin Trudeau. Official page
These governments would be able to cover some of their budgetary costs over the next six to eight months by the direct transfers as they prepare to reopen their economies as well as a contingency measure against the possible second wave of COVID-19.
"COVID-19 isn't just a health crisis. It's an economic crisis, too," Trudeau said in the press conference.
"When we talk about the recovery phase, it's not just about making sure we can detect, control and prevent future outbreaks. It's also about helping people, businesses and entire communities adjust to our new normal."
Focus of the money would be on seven priority areas, said Trudeau including enhanced COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases for front line workers and businesses, municipalities' funding, a national sick leave plan, and child care to enable parents to get back to work.
Trudeau added that some of the money will go toward improving the state of long-term care, and to fund mental health services and tackle homelessness.
This deal was the result of weeks of negotiations, led by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, between the Liberal government and the provinces and territories.
"We managed to get to an agreement where the money that is designated for safe child care spaces, for example, the money that is designated for PPE, the money that is designated for testing and contact tracing, actually will get spent in those areas," said Trudeau.
The federal government recognizes that more funding could be required, said Trudeau, beyond the next six to eight months due to the fact that development of a vaccine could be far off.
Previously pledged sum of $14 billion was thought to be insufficient by many premiers.
Canadian cities alone are facing a deficit of $10 to $15 billion due to a loss of revenue from property taxes, utility charges and transit fees, said he Canadian Federation of Municipalities in April.
Extension of the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border into August was also confirmed by Trudeau.
#BC; #BCFoodSystem; #EconomicRecovery; #Covid19Pandemic
British Columbia, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): While this year has created challenges to the farmers due to COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 British Columbia's (B.C.)'s strong, resilient food system resulted in its farm cash receipts with a record $3.9 billion in sales proving the sector is growing, media reports said.
Lana Popham. Image credit: Twitter handle
“COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province’s self-sufficiency. I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC,” said Lana Popham, B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture in a news release.
There was an increase in cannabis sales close to $300-million, a $47-million increase in dairy sales, increase in beef sales amounted to $25-million, and a $17.5-million increase in field vegetable sales.
With the start of economy in B.C. and with the realization that farmers in every region play a crucial role in contributing to both the local economy and the overall provincial economy, there is a growing demand for more British Columbian farm workers to ensure B.C.’s agriculture sector remains strong and well positioned to provide the fresh, local food that people need, through a healthy food system.
The BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector was launched by B.C. government in May, as well as a digital campaign is underway to further promote these job opportunities for the summer.
The Province is continuing to look at ways to unlock the prosperity of the agriculture, food and fish sector throughout B.C. with initiatives like Feed BC and the B.C. Food Hub Network.
The Manitoba government has selected nine businesses to receive more than $750,000 through the Innovation Growth Program (IGP), an investment designed to help them develop and commercialize new, innovative products and services, Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.
“The Innovation Growth Program provides support to businesses that are pursuing innovation and new opportunities, building on Manitoba’s many economic strengths,” said Eichler. “Investments in these nine companies will also significantly expand their workforces and help grow Manitoba’s economy over the long term.”
The second round of recipients of the Innovation Growth Program include:
• All-Net Municipal Solutions;
• Aurora Aerial Inc.;
• Callia Flowers;
• Cerebra Health;
• Elmer’s Manufacturing Ltd.;
• Evotrux Inc.;
• Micro Traffic Inc.;
• Prairie Grain Analyzers; and
• Red River Press.
“We help businesses book freight and trucks more efficiently, which is better for the environment, for their bottom line and for all of us as consumers,” said Daniel Santos, chief executive officer, Evotrux Inc. “We are experts in our field, but our ability to grow has been limited by our ability to connect with prospective clients. The IGP will help us market our innovative approach to transportation and secure the long-term growth of our company in Manitoba.”
“At Elmer’s, we maintain an explicit focus on innovation,” said Wendy Dyck, controller, Elmer’s Manufacturing. “It is this spirit that wins us praise and enables us to gain market share on the international stage. With the assistance from the IGP, we will be able to improve time to market of our new grain cart design concept to commercialization in order to meet the needs of new customers.”
Eichler noted these companies are forecasting the addition of more than 260 new full-time jobs and $90 million of export sales over the next five years. Manitoba’s Innovation Growth Program is cost-shared with recipients, with Manitoba providing up to 50 per cent of total project costs.
The Innovation Growth Program was launched in June 2019 and is a key element of Manitoba’s Economic Growth Action Plan.
#Ontario; Stage3Reopening, #VastMajorityOfOntario; SafetyProtocols
Ottawa, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced July 13 during his daily conference that twenty-four regions in Ontario, the vast majority of Ontario would be able to enter Stage 3 this Friday July 17 at 12:01 am.
Doug Ford and Christine Elliott. Image credit: Video grab
Details on the Stage 3 reopening framework were provided by Ford, Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Ontario Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education.
Ford said the regions which will be excluded in entering Stage 3 include Toronto, York Region, Peel region, Durham region, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Norfolk and Lambton.
"I want the people of these regions to know that we won't leave anyone behind and we will provide an update every Monday on regional reopenings. We will keep working until every part of this province gets to stage 3. We are moving forward as a province but we can't stop.We won't stop until we get every person in Ontario, until we get every worker in Ontario back to work and back on their feet," said Ford.
Limits on public gatherings in regions as they enter stage 3 would also expand to allow upto 100 people to gather outdoors and upto 50 people indoors and these gatherings must practice physical distancing with those outside their social circle.
"In stage 3 we will also give another boost to our economic region to restart," said Ford and added safety measures and protocols should be kept in mind.
The facilities that will be allowed to open in Stage 3 include dining restaurants; bars, gyms and fitness centres, most fitness care services, live shows performances in arts and movie theatres, casinos, recreational facilities and activities, team sports and live sporting events and tour and guide services, conferences, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses.
Ford said that Ontario has over 170 work place resources available online to help all of these spaces to reopen safely.
"The key part in getting people back to work is to ensure parents, workers have their child support they need... I want to see every child in Ontario practice school full time this September. This is where we are working towards with the support of our Medical Officer of Health and our local school boards and I am confident that we will get there...But we will not take unnecessary risks when it comes to our children and that is why we have to continue playing for every possible scenario to keep our kids safe as we get back to school," said Ford.
To allow parents to return safely to work, beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will start operating with cohorts of 15 children, an increase from the current cohort cap of 10.
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the that some facilities of high-risk places and activities remain closed, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges with health protocols due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
These facilities of high-risk places include amusement parks and water parks; buffet-style food services; dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment; overnight stays at camps for children; private karaoke rooms; prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports; saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars; table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
The public health unit regions which will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first, on Friday, July 17, 2020 include Algoma Public Health; Brant County Health Unit; Chatham-Kent Public Health; Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; Huron Perth Public Health; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit; Middlesex-London Health Unit; North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit; Northwestern Health Unit; Ottawa Public Health; Peterborough Public Health; ; Porcupine Health Unit; Public Health Sudbury & Districts; Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; Renfrew County and District Health Unit; Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; Southwestern Public Health; Thunder Bay District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
Businesses and municipalities will be permitted to enter Stage 3 based on their region and, as in the previous stages, may choose to take more time before reopening.
#Alberta; #OilfieldServies; #DelayedDispersalOfFund; #SlowRecoveryOfOilIndustry
Alberta, Jul 8 (Canadian-Media): The cleanup activity in the oilfield service companies in Alberta had been halted due to Alberta's late dispersal of funds to oil and gas workers to keep oilfield service companies afloat, media reports said.
Oil & Gas Industry. Image credit: Twitter handle
The federal government had handed over responsibility of dispersing the funds of $1.7 billion program announced in April to the British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments to help keep tens of thousands of inactive oil and gas wells across western Canada afloat and reduce the environmental risk associated with having so many wells sitting idle.
The Alberta government received up to $30,000 and has initially offered to fund the full amount to clean up a well.
With industry players competing for the government funding, oil and gas producers had stopped spending any of their own money to clean up wells resulting in the wells being dried up completely, and reversed what the stimulus program was meant to achieve.
During the first phase of Alberta's program launched on May 1, Scott Darling, president of Calgary-based Performance Energy Services and Production said he had seven people working on submitting applications, including himself.
But with the rise of applications to about 2,800 over the a few weeks, Darling received four approvals and 126 rejections resulting in the freezing of the industry.
So far, the Alberta government said it has approved about $64 million in applications for its $1 billion well clean up program.
Alberta's program may not provide an immediate boost in activity for the oilfield service sector because when an application is approved, the company has until the end of 2022 to complete the work.
In addition, those in the industry say there are delays when different applications for the same well are processed at different times.
#Alberta; #AlbertaInvestmentAttractionAct; #HighImpactInvestment; #CreateJobs
Alberta, Jul 7 (Canadian-Media): The introduction of the Bill 33, the Alberta Investment Attraction Act by the Alberta Government would help drive high-impact investment to the province and create jobs, media reports said.
Jason Kenney. Image credit: alberta.ca
The passing of the Bill 33 would create the Invest Alberta Corporation , an agency to help promote Alberta as a prime investment location for businesses from across Canada and around the world, attracting high-value, job-creating investment.
“The Invest Alberta Corporation will lead an aggressive international campaign to attract job-creating investment across key sectors and tell institutional investors the truth about Alberta’s competitiveness and environmentally responsible energy sector. Alberta has seen the flight of tens of billions of dollars of capital in the last five years. In order to get Alberta back to work, we must reverse that flow of investment back to Alberta,” said Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta in a news release.
By instilling investor confidence and generate investment in the province’s primary sectors including energy, agriculture and tourism, the Invest Alberta Corporation would play a central role in Alberta’s economic future in helping Alberta's Recovery Plan following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investment opportunities for Alberta’s high-growth industries, such as technology, aviation and aerospace, and financial services would also be pursued by the corporation.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan with timely, targeted investments and bold policy reforms will help create thousands of good jobs for Albertans by building schools, roads and other core infrastructure that benefits Albertans and communities. It will further diversify our economy by helping sectors grow and succeed with its most competitive tax environment in Canada, return investment to our province by ensuring strong future for Alberta’s innovative energy industry, and immediately show investors around the world that we mean business.
Once created, the new Alberta-based agency would highlight the low tax rates, highly skilled workforce and business-minded government policies that make Alberta a great place for investments.
If the legislation passes, the corporation’s operations and investment attraction activities would be overseen by a public board.
An amount of $6 million would be provided by the Government for its operations for the next three years.
Invest Alberta will coordinate the work of Alberta’s 11 trade promotion offices around the world, with a renewed focus on attracting foreign direct investment in Alberta.
The corporation will also expand its footprint to include key foreign markets for Alberta, beginning with a presence in Houston, Texas.
#Canada; #RPP; #Covid19Pandemic; #EconomicResponsePlan
Ottawa, Jul 2 (Canadian-Media): The Government of Canada is taking decisive action through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 outbreak, media reports said.
Image: Twitter handle of Veterans Affairs Canada
A release of draft regulations was announced Jul 2 by Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau to help employers who sponsor a Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or salary deferral leave plan for their employees to manage and maintain their benefit obligations through the crisis.
“COVID-19 has proven that extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary actions. The temporary relief we will provide to registered pension plan sponsors and their beneficiaries will play an important role in supporting them through these challenges and in positioning them for a strong recovery,” said Morneau.
This initiative would also protect employees, who participate in salary deferral leave plans that suspending their leave of absence (e.g., via a recall to essential-service work) or deferring their scheduled leave for up to one year, will not put their plan at risk.
Effective administration of such plans would be supported by the proposed draft regulations through the COVID-19 pandemic in providing temporary relief from various registration rules and other conditions that must be complied with under the Income Tax Regulations by: adding temporary stop-the-clock rules to the conditions applicable to salary deferral leave plans for the period of March 15, 2020 to April 30, 2021; allow RPP to borrow money; extending the deadline for decisions; permitting catch-up contributions to RPPs to be made in 2021 to the extent that 2020 required contributions had been reduced; setting aside the 36-month employment condition in the definition “eligible period of reduced pay” for using prescribed compensation to determine benefit or contribution levels; and allowing wage rollback periods in 2020 to qualify as an eligible period of reduced pay for prescribed compensation purposes.
These proposed measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which has helped protect Canadian jobs, and committed billions in support to Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The government will continue to monitor and respond to the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.
#BritishColumbia; #EnhancedClimateActionTaxCredit; #Covid19ActionPlan
British Columbia, Jul 2 (Canadian-Media): More than 80 percent British Columbians will receive an enhanced climate action tax credit (ECATC) automatically starting this week, if they have completed their B.C. 2019 income tax return, media reports said.
Climate Action Tax Credit. Image credit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca
“Many British Columbians are still worried about how they can cover costs such as transportation so they can return to work, pay for groceries and find day camps for their children,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance in a news release. “The enhanced climate action tax credit puts extra money in the pockets of British Columbians for their household expenses and to spend at local businesses. This is a needed boost as we work together to restart the economy.”
British Columbians will receive the climate action tax credit along with their federal GST/HST returns.
Enhanced credit, part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBFW), supports people and businesses during B.C.'s efforts to restart plan.
BCEBFW was recently expanded to include workers whose jobs were affected by COVID-19 between March 1 and March 15.
Individuals who are eligible for ECATC will be given up to $218, children will receive up to $64 in a one-time increase, and a family of four will receive up to $564. That is a $174.50 boost for individuals, a $51.25 increase for children and a lift of $451.50 for a family of four, which is double the annual amount eligible households would have received prior to B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
The scheduled July payment prior to B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan, was up to $43.50 per adult and up to $12.75 per child.
An eligible family of four would receive up to $112.50.
CleanBC, the province's pathway to a more prosperous and sustainable future developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus, supports the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.'s emission targets.
CleanBC. Image credit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca
#Alberta; #Canada, #CorportateTaxRate; #JobCreationTaxCut; #AlbertaRecoveryPlan
Alberta, Jul 1 (Canadian-Media): The corporate tax rate in Alberta has dropped to eight percent, and now at least 30 percent lower than any other Canadian provincial rate, making it the lowest rate in Canada and promotes Alberta's competitive edge in North America, media reports said.
Alberta Economy. Image credit: Twitter handle
The Job Creation Tax Cut was implemented by Alberta a year and a half ahead of schedule, facilitating the government to open for business with confidence and certainty as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, freeing up resources to hire Albertans
Alberta's fiscal business opportunities encourage companies outside the province to relocate and take advantage of the province’s competitive tax rate.
“As Alberta moves towards recovery, we remain committed to making our province one of the most tax-competitive jurisdictions in North America and the top business destination in the country. The Job Creation Tax Cut will dovetail with the new Innovation Employment Grant to support a wide range of Alberta job creators,” said Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance in a news release
Alberta recently announced the Innovation Employment Grants, as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, which together with the Job Creation Tax Cut would facilitate the targeting of small and medium-sized companies in the early stages of operation.
Innovation, diversification and investment by businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy would be promoted by these combined programs.
Besides supporting the development of new products and ideas, a low general corporate tax rate also provides a strong incentive to commercialize those products here in Alberta, instead of other jurisdictions and help create thousands of good jobs for Albertans.
Diversification in the companies is also encouraged by a low general corporate tax rate by providing more benefit to companies outside the resource sector as well as adds extra incentive to invest and grow in Alberta including both smaller and larger firms.